This graph shows the average number of scratches on upper
central incisor labial surfaces for a variety of primate species
using data from Ungar(1992, 1994) and Ungar and Grine (1991).
Those species with the highest number of scratches, such
as Macaca fasciscularis and Cebus olivaceus
regularly use their incisors to prepare foods for ingestion.
Those with the lowest number of scratches, such as Alouatta
seniculus and Hylobates lar less frequently
use their front teeth to prepare foods.
Values for human ancestors and other fossil primates can
simply be compared to values for living primates with known
diets and tooth-use behaviors to infer feeding adaptations
for extinct forms.
Return to the Reconstructing Diets page